The Supreme Court (SC) has ordered the Philippine National Police (PNP) to stop spying on suspected New People’s Army (NPA) Vivian Sanchez and her two daughters.
The SC issued the directive on Monday (Feb. 24) as it granted the petition for a writ of amparo of Sanchez who sought for the issuance of a permanent protection order against the PNP.
In a decision, the high court told the PNP that it is prohibited “from monitoring or surveilling” Sanchez and her two daughters.
“The respondent police officers are reminded to uphold the rights of citizens as contained in the Constitution as well as conduct investigations in accordance with their promulgated manuals including the Ethical Doctrine Manual,” read the SC order.
Sanchez is married to her estrange husband Eldie Labinghisa who died in August 2018 along with six other alleged NPA members in Barangay Atabay, San Jose, Antique.
“The totality of obtaining circumstances likewise shows that petitioner and her children were the subject of surveillance because of their relationship with a suspected member of the New People’s Army, creating a real threat to life, liberty, or security,” the high court ruled.
Sanchez recounted that when she first went to the funeral home to verify her husband’s identity police started taking her photos without permission.
She later learned that her photos were being circulated at the police station.
Sanchez was also threatened that police will run after her if she refused to identify her dead husband and answer other questions of police.
The woman also noticed frequent drive-bys by police and vehicles tailing her and her family.
“Being Labinghas’s widow, despite being separated in fact from him for more than a decade, puts her at a precarious position in light of the current administration’s aggressive efforts to stamp out the communist struggle in the country, which is seen as the ‘scourge of society’,” the SC said.
“Her apprehension at being targeted as a suspected member of the New People’s Army was, thus, palpable and understandable, causing her to ‘act suspiciously’ as claimed by respondents, who subjected her to threats and accusations,” it added.